Today’s delicious dish – Cranberry-O Granola
Granola is delightful, as well as expensive and high in calories. But it can be a nutritious part of a person’s diet if consumed in reasonable portions and not too often. Making granola at home gives me the chance to control the amount and type of fat and sugar, and to put in things I like and leave out things I don’t like. I am especially fond of topping a serving of plain yogurt with a drizzle of honey and a half-cup of this granola.
Feel free to make substitutions to suit your desires. If you don’t want to use coconut oil, use any flavorless oil. Don’t use butter, though – it may over-brown after more than an hour in the oven. If you don’t want to use honey, you can substitute agave nectar, maple syrup, or corn syrup. If you don’t have coconut on hand or don’t like it, leave it out, but be sure to replace it with something that you do like – maybe more cereal or nuts. The same goes for wheat germ. As far as nuts go, use a kind you like. You’ll want to have all the pieces in your granola about the same size, so you may want to chop large nuts.
Generally speaking, you need about a cup of wet ingredients to go with about 5 cups of dry ingredients. Then you need a cup of dried fruit, which is added afterwards because it might burn or become very hard if baked with the granola.
- 1/4 cup coconut oil (solid at room temperature)
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar (packed)
- 2 Tablespoons water
- 1 Tablespoon almond extract
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
- 1 cup Toasted Oats cereal (like Cheerios)
- 1/2 cup dry roasted sunflower seed kernels
- 1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes (packed)
- 1/4 cup wheat germ
- 1 cup dried cranberries (sweetened)
Heat oven to 250°F.
In a microwave-safe container, microwave coconut oil, honey, brown sugar, water, almond extract, and cinnamon for 30 seconds. Whisk to combine. Microwave 30 seconds more and whisk to make a syrupy mixture. Set aside.
In a large bowl, toss together oats, cereal, sunflower seed kernels, coconut flakes, and wheat germ. Pour wet mixture over and stir to mix completely. If coconut clumps, separate it into shreds.
Spread granola onto a large parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, until evenly and lightly browned. Remove from oven and immediately stir in dried cranberries. If cranberries clump, separate them.
Let cool completely and store in airtight container.
Makes about 6 cups granola, or 6 servings (about 1 cup each)
Nutritional information (per 1 cup serving): 525 calories, 19 grams fat, 11 grams saturated fat, 8 grams protein, 80 grams carbohydrate, 44 grams sugars, 8 grams fiber, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 105 milligrams sodium
Cost per serving: $1.25
Preparation time: 1 1/2 hour
What happens next?
Homemade granola will keep for about 3 weeks in your airtight container. If left out, granola will tend to become sticky and maybe even mushy. This is caused by the honey, which has hygroscopic properties – this means it has the ability to attract moisture and hold it. If this is a known problem for you, maybe you want to use maple syrup instead of honey – the hygroscopic effect is much less with maple syrup.
At my house, we eat granola in a bowl with milk, we put it on top of yogurt or ice cream, and we eat it as a snack. A batch of granola doesn’t usually last long, because it is so good. I often put aside a serving of granola to use in the topping of a lovely moist coffee cake.
Another day’s delicious dish – Granola Coffee Cake
Coffee cake is easy and quick to make, and lends itself to many variations. Although granola could go on top of cake just as it is, adding flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter makes for a superb topping that is reminiscent of a traditional crumb cake.
If you don’t have an 8” square baking dish, there are several options. An 8” round cake pan will be undersized, and the cake may be too thick or might even overflow. A 9” round cake pan has the same capacity as an 8” square pan, so it will work perfectly. A 9” square pan also works fine, but the cake will be a bit thinner and will probably cook quicker. If you want to double this recipe, bake it in a 9” x 13” pan. The cake will be a bit thicker, and you may need to increase the baking time by a few minutes.
If you don’t have a serving of Cranberry-O Granola saved, you can still make this recipe. Use about 3/4 cup of any other plain granola and about 1/4 cup dried sweetened cranberries, and you will be ready to make this cake.
Granola Coffee Cake
- 1 serving (about 1 cup) Cranberry-O Granola
- 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 Tablespoon almond extract
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 Tablespoon 2% milk
Heat oven to 350°F.
Make granola streusel by combining granola, flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Add melted butter and mix well. Set aside.
Cream together softened butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Add sour cream and almond extract and mix well.
Add flour, baking powder, and baking soda to batter and beat until smooth.
Turn batter into a greased and floured 8-inch square pan. Crumble granola streusel evenly over top of cake, breaking up any large clumps.
Bake for 35 minutes. Remove from oven.
Stir together powdered sugar, almond extract, and milk into a glaze. Drizzle over warm cake.
Makes 9 servings.
Nutritional information (per serving): 360 calories, 14 grams fat, 8.5 grams saturated fat, 5 grams protein, 52 grams carbohydrate, 31 grams sugars, 2 grams fiber, 66 milligrams cholesterol, 188 milligrams sodium
Cost per serving: 65 cents
Preparation time: 45 minutes